Shadows and Dreams
I dreamt of my grandmother
in a large bed
in a crowded room
filled with aunts and uncles and cousins.
But where was my mother?
I sat in a rocking chair
and held her mother’s hand.
We did not need to speak–
her fingers had already threaded the needle
and passed it along.
My father came to me
like a bird, wings of arms outstretched.
“I am looking out for you,” he said.
I knew then he had made it safely
to the other side.
The dreams of a child
are like the cascading of oceans–
endless waves merging as they ebb and flow,
fantastic worlds ignoring the divisions
of day and night.
I would be a princess, a singer, a cosmic traveler,
an artist. I would be a butterfly, a tree,
What were my mother’s dreams?
I could not imagine her as a child.
She said she had wanted to be
an engineer. She wanted
to study in Mexico. She wanted
to travel the world. Her father said
that was not what women did.
They married and had families–
and so she married my father,
and I was born between brothers.
When I dreamed of my children’s father,
he was working.
He was always working.
But my heart was glad:
“You are yourself again,” I said.
I knew he had made it safely
to the other side,
tools in hand.
For the last few years of her life,
my mother barely spoke.
She lost her tether to the world
when my father died.
Neither the hands of her children or her sister
could pull her back.
She is suspended in both time and place.
And so each night I wait.
When will she return to me, herself again,
to embrace my longing?
Where is my mother?
I don’t usually write such long or personal poems, but Larry Levis’ beautiful and meditative words, the reference for today’s NaPoWriMo prompt about the layers of time in thought and in life, made me think (as I often do) of my mother. I’ve also incorporated the dVerse prompt of cascade.